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A Brief History of the US in the INDOPACIFIC Region: Part 2

November 22, 2021 | INDOPACOM

The U.S. Impact on the Development of the Philippines


One country in the INDOPACOM region that whose development was greatly influenced by the United States is the Philippines. The Philippines is a collection of about 7,640 islands stretching across 120,000sq. mi the in the western Pacific Ocean. It is home to a diverse group of around 109 million people with the capital of Manila, a hub for trans-Pacific trade.

The Philippines was a part of the

Spanish empire for more than 300

years before the Philippine Revolution and Spanish-American War led them to ceding the territory to the United States. The Philippine-American War was the result of the United States not recognizing the First Philippine Republic. Upon defeat, an American civilian government was established in its place. It remained under U.S. control after the Philippine-American War all the way up to the Japanese invasion in World War II.


During WWII, the Japanese Empire invaded the Philippines and established the Second Philippine Republic as a puppet state. Strong opposition to the occupation led to guerrilla warfare, war crimes, the Bataan Death March, and the Manila Massacre; events that had a lasting impact on the Philippine people. The Philippines finally became an independent nation upon liberation by allied troops in 1946.


Following WWII, the Philippines experienced a long period of political turmoil within their newly established democratic government. Political controversies and corruption have been rampant over the years. But in between, strong economic growth and infrastructure development, including 214 airport projects, 451 commercial, social, and tourism port projects, 18,000 miles of roads, 5,950 bridges, and 150,000 classrooms. The programs have expanded to include health, information and communications technology, and water infrastructure.

Even though the Philippines has had its own internal struggles, they have been a strong ally to the United States since WWII. The two nations have had mutual defense treaties in place since 1951, the most recent being the 2016 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. The Philippines were also a founding and active member of the United Nations and the Security Council, active in peace-keeping missions across the globe. They also supported America during the Cold War and Korean and Vietnam Wars and the United States has committed to supporting them in the future.


Next Up: WWI in the INDOPACOM Region

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